May in Ohio reminds us all why we put up with the ferocious winter. Everything is luxuriously green and lush, the trees suddenly laden with new leaves and spring wildflowers popping up everywhere. Things on the farm are running on schedule thanks to our three excellent co-op students, lots of planting and lots of fresh greens, eggs and dried herbs for the kitchens. We installed a new package of bees in our hive, and soon we will bring our new chicks (15 of which we hatched out from our own eggs) out to pasture, as well as our new lambs!
We are beginning a new food forest with the funding the farm received through Giving Tuesday, planting 100 fruit trees in the southeast corner of campus along Allen Street. The trees are mostly apples, in varieties selected for their ability to thrive in our humid climate. We are planting them just below our swales, which are ditches dug out along the contours of the land so that they evenly harvest rainwater.
This allows the water to better sink into the ground and get to the roots of our trees, and prevents it from running off-site causing erosion. We learned how to use a laser level to mark the rows for our trees, which makes it easy to curve the rows along the topography of the land.
Last week, a panel of staff and students were excited to present our plans for the solar array and farm extension in south campus to the Yellow Springs community. I was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to share why I feel that the farm is so important for Antioch's mission with the village, as well as the students, staff and faculty that filled the John Bryan Center.
I feel very lucky that the farm has such strong support from the College and the wider community, and I believe it is a valuable resource for all of us.